Ultimate ears super.fi 5 pro vs. Shure E4C

Discussion in 'iPod' started by wiseguy27, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    This is again a tough one to decide and I currently don't have access to either of these models to try them out in a store.

    I would like to hear from members who have tried both these and how they compare - I'm still trying to get more information from the web (have already read reviews in some sites and comments on Amazon.com).

    What I've gathered so far:
    * the UEs are probably better because they have two drivers (as opposed to one in Shure E4C)
    * the UEs also deliver higher bass and thus compromise on the higher frequency ranges (some comments about the E4C say just the opposite - that the E4C does bass poorly and the high frequencies come out quite high)

    I don't have much related information about Shure E4C. Apart from the quality of sound, I'm also looking at the overall build and comfort in using them (the other "value for money" aspects).

    While I hunt for more comparisons and reviews, it'd help me tremendously if you could throw in your opinions based on experience. :) Both these models fall in the same price range, and since they're relatively "expensive", I would prefer to put my money in something I'd feel happy about for years. :D

    Or should I ditch these models and have a better look at Etymotic ER-4? :p

    Thanks for your time! :)
     
  2. Loge macrumors 68020

    Loge

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #2
    I have the UEs and the Shure E3c. While the UEs do have slightly better sound quality, I find myself using the Shures most of the time. They are slightly more comfortable in my ears, and I like the thick cable (no tangling!)

    There is definitely a stronger bass response from the UEs, but I find the bass on the Shures is very clear and defined (I am a bassist, btw), just not as loud. This only really becomes an issue with some pop/rock music where the bass is not high enough in the mix.

    If I was buying now, I'd probably go with the E4c.
     
  3. zwida macrumors 6502a

    zwida

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2001
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    Loge, have you had ear impressions made for a custom fit on your UEs? I've been wanting to for the last few years, but never have the combination of time and money necessary for the custom fit and the UEs.
     
  4. Loge macrumors 68020

    Loge

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #4
    To be honest, I hadn't considered it so far. I may look into it at some stage.
     
  5. tkidBOSTON macrumors 6502a

    tkidBOSTON

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Location:
    The Hub of the Universe
    #5
    While I havent heard the UEs so I cant give you a comparison, I am a proud owner of the Shure E4Cs and I swear by them. I looked into a number of different headphones before settling on the E4Cs and I couldnt be happier. I find them extremely comfortable and the sound quality amazing.

    My $0.02.
     
  6. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #6
    I have the e4cs and they're not bad. The bass isn't that strong but they still sound very good. The detail they produce is great, definitely better than my Sennhesier HD280s, to the extent that you notice instruments in some tracks that seem buried in the mix with cheaper headphones. Still, the bass is lacking pretty seriously. The e4cs are crisp, punchy, and refined rather than booming across all frequencies. This doesn't suit my taste in how the bass sounds even if it's technically well-rendered sound.

    One thing to note is that poorly compressed mp3s or poorly-recorded music sounds awful. iTMS tracks sound okay (as AAC favors high frequencies over bass, unlike MP3s) but low-bitrate MP3s are sometimes iffy.

    As for comfort, they definitely feel a little weird. I have small ear canals relatively speaking, and I find that the medium sized rubber inserts are a bit tight but sound okay. The small ones fit better but don't sound as good. The foamies feel the best, though still a bit tight. (They feel like ear plugs, which they basically are). They also sound the best, by far, but only when new. Sound isolation, sound quality, etc. etc. are really based a lot around fit, weirdly enough. Unfortuantely, the foamies wear out really quickly, but while they are new they are fantatic, and you can order extras. The noise reduction is really nice on them, too, especially when travelling.

    Oddly enough, I like them most for classical and well-produced hip hop. They make some rock and rap that's meant to be a bit messy sound too refined, although still good.
     
  7. wiseguy27 thread starter macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Thanks for your inputs, guys. I'm still undecided (yeah, that happens often). :D

    I'm currently suffering with the stock earphones that came with the iPod - it's not just the quality of the sound, but also the awkwardness of the fit (and the pain in my ears after using it for just several minutes) that I don't like. So apart from the bass (or lack of it) in the new models I'm looking at, I'm also looking for something that would fit well.

    From reading a little more in some reviews, I found that the Shure E4Cs are a little harder on the comfort side and that they need to go deeper into the ear (compared to the UE 5 Pro). What I don't like about the UE 5 Pro is the high bass (to the extent of the response being bad on the high frequencies) and that it's cable is a little flimsy and has a good chance of breaking.

    I thought the choices would be easier as one goes up the price ladder, but apparently it's probably easier to just decide on some low price and go for something instead of breaking one's head over making a choice. But that's easier said than done! :D

    Loge, you stated that the bass is actually good (or ok) with the E3C - would you know anyone who has an E4C and how that one compares with the E3C? One would assume that the E4C, being a newer model, would be better than the E3C in almost all aspects - but reality usually doesn't match this expectation.

    Policar, your point about the comfort and fit is well taken - I also read about the E4C being a little hard and not easy to wear comfortably. After my experience with the stock earphones, I feel I should give a higher priority to the comfort and fit, and then look at the frequency response - it's probably better to hear some music well than to hear all music badly.

    While I continue my search for more information, I would still appreciate more advice/experiences.

    Thanks! :)
     
  8. Loge macrumors 68020

    Loge

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #8
    I don't know anyone with the E4cs. Reviews suggest that it has improved bass over the E3c, though not enough for some apparently. In the end, it's up to your own ears.
     
  9. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #9
    From what I understand the biggest difference between the e3c and e4c is that the bass response is improved considerably on the e4c. So I would not get the e3c if you are concerned about bass, although I haven't tried them so I can't say for sure.

    You should also be aware that IEMs don't fit like earbuds. Earbuds are like small headphones that hang in front of your ears; IEMs seal off the ear canal and the seal is really important in regards to how they sound. The "fit kit" is pretty good with the shures, but IMO, the foamies are far superior to any of the other options and should fit most people well. IEMs definitely feel weird at first and using them is strange because, when properly worn, the sound seems to be coming from inside your head. They're nice, though. I prefer big, closed headphones for everyday use, but for the gym or travel or whatever, they're awesome.
     
  10. DaHarder macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Las vegas Nevada
    #10
    I have the SHURE E4 and E5 cans, and Choose the UE 5 Pros...

    I have them both, and thoroughly enjoyed the SHURE cans until I heard the UE 5 Pro units.

    The most amazing thing about the UE 5 Pro is the low end. I’m not talking about the Thumping/Over Extended nonsense that is so popular in today’s pop music, I mean full/robust sonically pleasing low-end that’s both detailed and musical.

    The SHURE units (both my E5 and E4) reproduce highs and mids beautifully, but I always felt them lacking in the lower registers, the UE 5 pro cans rectify this issue while maintaining 95% of the ‘clarity’ that I so appreciate about the SHUREs.

    The fact that the UE 5 pro units come at such a reasonable price point makes buying them a no brainier.

    BTW… If you have concerns about the thickness of the cables, rest assured, they can be upgraded by one of the best customer service teams I've ever dealt with.
     
  11. wiseguy27 thread starter macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #11
    DaHarder, you say "while maintaining 95% of the 'clarity' that I so appreciate about the SHUREs" - from what I've read in some reviews, the UE 5 Pro's good low end response drowns out the mid and highs - has that been your experience? Or do the mids and highs sound reasonably good? I don't like booming bass much (although it sounds good for some songs). I don't like the other extreme of tinny sounds either (that's what some reports of the SHUREs said).

    A small sampling of artists/bands I listen to are The Beatles, Evanescence, Robbie Williams, Linkin Park, Black Eyed Peas, Avril Lavigne, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, some other popular bands and hard rock (maybe a couple of hit songs from each one)...there are many others that I don't listen to often **now**.


    Thanks! :)
     

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